The iPad Mini: How Does It Measure Up?

On October 23, Apple announced its  newest product in the iPad line: the iPad Mini. The slogan Apple chose for this new product is “Every inch an iPad.” This slogan is misleading, however, as the iPad Mini is inferior to the most recent generation of iPads. In fact, its price point means it does not stack up to other similarly sized tablets.

At 7.87 inches by 5.3 inches, the screen is less than two inches smaller than the regular iPad. While some may like the option of having a smaller tablet, the main issue seems to be the price.  With the 16 GB iPad Mini starting at $329, it costs a mere $60 less than the 16 GB iPad 2, the price of which was recently dropped.

If you compare the $329 iPad Mini to the price of other popular 16 GB seven-inch tablets like the Kindle Fire HD, which sells for $199, and the Google Nexus 7, which costs $249, it becomes obvious that the iPad Mini is priced on the high end of the tablet market.

The Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus also offer some specifications that the iPad Mini lacks. The iPad Mini’s screen resolution is lower than that of both the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7. Furthermore, the processor included in the Mini is reportedly slower than that of the Kindle Fire and Nexus.

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, saw seven-inch tablets as unnecessary and did not want to incorporate them into the Apple line. He spoke of his views on a seven-inch tablet during a 2010 Apple earnings release. “This size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps in our opinion.”

Though he suggested that “one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference,” Apple did not do this for the iPad Mini. Yes, they did make a 7.9 inch tablet rather than merely a seven-inch tablet, but how much difference is 0.9 inches going to make? Many other tablets released before the iPad Mini are closer to eight inches.

Even more confusing than the size is the lack of features that may have made the iPad Mini worth the high price. Apple recently released its newest generation of the iPad, which includes retina display starting at $499, but the company failed to include this display for the iPad Mini’s screen. They also recently released color options for the iPod Touch, but do not include this as an option for the iPad mini.

While some may like that there is a version of the iPad Mini that offers 3G/4G data, allowing users to use data almost anywhere, this too comes at a price: $459. Clearly, the smaller size of the iPad Mini does not correlate with a low price point.

Apple’s iPod touch, which is about three inches smaller than the Mini, costs $30 less than the mini. While this may not seem like much of a difference, this price comes with 32GB rather than 16GB, giving users twice the storage space for music and apps. If you want 32GB in the Mini, you need to be willing to pay $429, and that’s without cellular data (which costs a steep $559).  To compare, a 32GB iPhone, which comes with the ability to have a wireless service plan through your wireless provider, costs $299.

Jobs also called seven-inch tablets “tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.” While the smaller size may be convenient for some, so many people have smartphones that a pocket-sized tablet seems unnecessary, especially when it costs $329 without 3G/4G data. Why would you need to pull out your iPad Mini to check the weather when you can pull out your slightly more convenient iPhone?

The iPad Mini also comes with the new Lightning cable from Apple. What this means is that all previous products that used the old Apple adapter will no longer work, so those who purchase the Mini will not be able to use their old chargers on this new iPad.

While the iPad Mini did sell out its preorders, it remains to be seen whether people will actually approve of the product once they’ve started using it.

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